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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=What's going on. Sorry for the trouble.

What's going on

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Alright, let's see what's going on on the island then. The best news of the day is that our beloved Ministry of Information is finally being axed. Hurrah! It's good to see that the government sees the need for change, and is ready to gradually take out the Old Guard in the process. I do hope this means support for private media outlets on the island, among many other changes. Read Mahmood's take on it.

There is also a hunger strike taking place today to show support for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The hunger strike started at 9am this morning and is taking place outside the UN House in Hoora. There will also be a general protest which starts 8pm this evening. I'll do my best to go and see what exactly their stand is. But I must say, I find it rather difficult to support a group that calls itself the Bahraini Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy. That said, there's no harm in hearing what they have to say. (Read the GDN report).

I've also just been made aware that there is another sit-in taking place at Ras Rumman mosque, in Manama, between 4pm and 10pm. This protest however is to "express solidarity with Iraq's Shiite religious authority, or marjaiya, as the top cleric there headed for the troubled holy city of Najaf." By this I assume they mean supporting Ayotallah Sistani's efforts in Najaf. (Read the AFP report)

Finally, there's the Muharraq Festival which has been going on for several weeks now, and will be ending on Friday. Sounds like fun.

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4 Responses to 'What's going on'


Anonymous Anonymous says:

Great news about the Ministry, and I hope they get rid all the dead wood in BTV while they’re about it.

I don’t know if you caught the comments of Georges Leclere, the head of the Emmys at the organisation’s Asian regional award ceremony in Dubai last month, but he gave Arab arts, drama, documentary and comedy TV programmes both barrels saying that it was all rubbish. All the regional awards went to Taiwanese and Japanese productions, and none to the Arab world.

He’s very right – Arab TV and film is an intellectual waste land. Even people in the past who had something to say now seem to be crushed under a second rate born cosiness and general softening of the brain cells that’s come to define the region intellectually. I was reading an interview with Yousuf Chahine a couple of days ago in the Wall Street Journal – someone with a big reputation in the past – and he was spouting the same conformist bullshit about America that can be found on any street corner in the Arab world. Before he had something to say – now like everyone else he’s spouting platitudes.

It’d be nice to think that freed from the constraints of being a government body, BTV can in its own small way address this stifling cultural malaise by making some serious programmes.    

Blogger Chanad says:

Yeah, asides from the recent news channels, Arab media is nothing. But being an optimist, there are certainly signs of future potential if the conditions are right. I've seen a bunch of beautiful films from the Maghreb region (try Moufida Tlatli's Mawsam al Rijal), and there have also been a few movies coming out of Lebanon and Palestine that have been getting global attention in recent years (like Beirut al Gharbiyya, Divine Intervention, and Rana's Wedding). It seems that it is the Gulf region which is very much behind the rest, even the we probably have the most resources available. But a while ago Mahmood had a post about Haifa al-Mansour, a woman filmmaker from Saudi. That's definitely a sign of hope.

My hope is that the end of the ministry will not only allow BTV to make some serious programs, but that it will encourage individuals to come up with their own ideas and participate in making Bahrain a democracy. I look forward to seeing a documentary about the Shia-Sunni divide, or the local-expat divide in Bahrain in the future hopefully.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:

I’ll try and check out some of these movies – anyone who appreciates his Bergman must know what he's talking abut.

Yeah, I’d like to see a film on the Bahraini-expat divide, perhaps it could look at Murtader Bader’s proposals for a physical divide between Bahrainis and the “immoral” foreigner.    

Blogger Chanad says:
8/28/2004 02:15:00 pm

And here's a BBC report about new Arab cinema that might be of interest to you.

One thing that I am keen to better understand is how Iran next door has an absolutely magnificent filmmaking tradition despite all of the economic and censorship restrictions there. I would have thought that being so close to Iran, and having many links to Iran, people in the Gulf might have somehow learned how to make good films. But that doesn't seem to be. Any ideas why?    

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